‘Move to make Middle East a nuke-free zone’
Diplomat tells UN of UAE’s concern over Iran’s aims despite nuclear agreement
The UAE has called on the international community to take greater steps to make the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, urged leaders to act as she told the UN that the emirates still has “grave concern” with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
In a speech to the UN’s First Committee’s session on ‘Disarmament and International Security’, Ambassador Nusseibeh said Iran was still a major threat despite the nuclear agreement reached with the P5+1 states last year.
In signing that deal, Tehran agreed to cease with its nuclear enrichment programme in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions.
“We had hoped that the agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme would encourage it to begin a new chapter and enhance confidence in the exclusive peaceful nature of its nuclear programme,” Nusseibeh said in her speech in New York.
“However, Tehran continues to undermine the security of the region through its aggressive rhetoric, by supporting and arming militias, and its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Iran backs the Houthi rebels who are currently fighting the Saudi-led Arab coalition for control of Yemen, while also supporting Syria President Bashar Al Assad in the civil war.
Ambassador Nusseibeh reiterated the need for Iran to comply with international obligations and under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Ambassador Nusseibeh noted the particular importance of the NPT to the UAE, based on its commitment towards global security and clear positions regarding disarmament and non-proliferation issues, UAE news agency WAM reported. With the UAE’s first nuclear power plant now under construction at Al Barakah in the Western Region, Ambassador Nusseibeh stressed the importance of pursuing a transparent approach to acquiring nuclear energy for peaceful uses. In her speech she urged Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as it is the only state in the region that has not yet acceded to this Treaty. But she expressed concern over the lack of progress made towards bringing this treaty into force, WAM said. She urged states to “meet their international commitments, and to refrain from conducting any nuclear tests”. Ambassador Nusseibeh also voiced concern at “North Korea’s development of its nuclear and ballistic capacities and the carrying out of regular tests which threaten the security of its neighbours, as well as international peace and security, and which are clearly contrary to the most fundamental rules of international law”. She called for better work on international peace.